There are plenty of reasons to be unhappy with the Danny Watkins pick in 2011. There's his age, for starters. Guard isn't exactly a premium position, especially in Howard Mudd's scheme. Plus, there was his poor play last year after being called "NFL ready" by basically everyone.
But now we have to worry about something more: that Watkins's football intelligence just isn't close to being starter-quality yet. Sheil Kapadia wrote a revealing piece about Watkins yesterday:
When Danny Watkins saw a notice last week at the Novacare Complex for a mandatory rookie event, his first instinct was to tell his teammate, Jason Kelce.
But then, Watkins remembered: He's not a rookie anymore.
Alright, alright. Mocking him for forgetting that he's not a rookie anymore would be juvenile. But take that in context of the rest of the story. Here's Jason Kelce on Watkins's progress:
"Now, having a full off season under his belt, finally learning to think about things in different ways than he's used to, he can now watch film on his own and tell what's going on. 'I screwed up there. I should be doing this.' That's huge. Really, if you're at the level where you should be mentally, you should know immediately after a play, I just screwed that up. Last year, he wasn't at that level, whereas now, he's slowly able to recognize, 'I should have did that better that last play.' "
Wait, I'm supposed to comfortable with a guy who's "slowly" able figure out that he might have done something wrong on the previous play? It's one thing to mess up, to miss a block or blow an assignment. Everybody makes mistakes. But it's mind-boggling to me that someone would consistently not even realize that they made a mistake at all.
It's not a good sign that Watkins only now is learning how to watch film. That (a) was something the Eagles should have known before they drafted him and (b) something renowned line coach Howard Mudd ought to be able to teach.
At the end of the day, your former first round pick shouldn't be talking about your former sixth round pick like there are light years separating the two:
"Looking back at where me and him started last year, he's so far ahead with his football IQ, and I'm trying to learn from him. I think he's going to do awesome this year. I'm excited for him."